As the temperature drops in Middletown, New York, your attention will likely be focused on keeping your home warm. Your outdoor air conditioning unit is probably one of the last things on your mind. However, cold-weather maintenance will help your AC unit survive the winter months, ensuring that it will work for you when you need it to come the spring. But should you cover your AC in the winter as part of hat maintenance?
Do You Need to Cover an Air Conditioner During the Winter Months?
You want your air conditioning unit to work correctly from the moment you first turn it on during late spring or early summer. By scheduling professional preventative maintenance for your AC during the fall, you’re taking steps to ensure that things will work as they should.
As the temperatures outside begin to drop during the winter and the snowfall begins, you might be concerned that your outdoor condenser will freeze. Modern air conditioning condensers have been designed to endure drastic temperature changes. Part of the quality control connected to their maintenance is ensuring that they can withstand harsh winters.
However, where you live and the physical location of your condenser will determine if you should cover it during the winter or not. In New York, there is often extreme snowfall. Covering your condenser might be an excellent way to protect the coils from ice buildup, the weight of fallen leaves, and heavy snowfall.
If you have a whole-house central HVAC system, it’s typically good enough to cover the top of the outdoor condenser unit. Part of the fall maintenance done by HVAC technicians is cleaning the coils, removing debris, and winterizing your system. If the condenser unit is in a protected area and away from ice and snow, it might not be necessary to cover it.
The Benefits of Covering Your HVAC System in the Winter
If you cover your HVAC system in the winter, you can prevent ice from forming on the condenser, which could damage it. Snowfall is heavy, weighing between 15 and 20 pounds per cubic foot. Plywood or another sturdy protective material can prevent the box from getting damaged by snow accumulation.
If your condenser box is under a tree or surrounded by shrubbery, covering it protects it from collecting debris during the fall and early winter. It will help keep the unit clean, maximizing the benefits of your fall professional HVAC cleaning and maintenance.
Drawbacks of Covering Your AC in the Winter
If you use the wrong type of covering, moisture can build up in the condenser unit and stay there throughout the winter, causing the internal components of your unit to rust. This could lead to expensive repairs and maintenance come spring.
A covered outdoor AC condenser unit could be the perfect protective home for pests, like mice and rats, looking for a place to escape the cold and precipitation of winter. Also, trapped moisture could lead to mold growth that will block the airflow come spring and potentially put your family’s health at risk.
Moisture collection may cause the coils to freeze together, damaging them if the wrong type of AC cover is used. For this reason, if you feel that covering your outdoor AC unit is a good idea, talk to our professionals from WK Mechanical, Inc. during your annual AC maintenance. We can make some recommendations on AC covers that are right for you.
Finding the Right Cover for Your AC
There are covers for the air conditioning condenser box that surround the entire unit and others that only cover the top of the unit. If you decide to cover your unit during the winter, use the covers that only cover the top.
These units allow sufficient airflow and prevent moisture buildup and mold growth. Although they protect your unit from snow accumulation and falling debris, they will not turn the outdoor condenser into a welcoming space for rodents and pests.
If your AC unit does have mold or mildew buildup in the spring, or if rodents chose to make it their home for the winter, contact our AC repair professionals. We can address the damage and make repairs so your unit works the way it should come summer.
Trusted Heating Specialists in the Hudson Valley
At WK Mechanical, Inc., we have been serving Orange County for over five decades. Our licensed and insured technicians will provide you and your family with outstanding workmanship.
Our services include residential and commercial HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance. We offer sheet metal work, ductless AC services, water quality testing, and indoor air quality improvements. We also handle generators. Contact us at WK Mechanical, Inc. today to learn more about all we can do to help you and your family stay comfortable.